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KY Communities to Share Millions to Improve Health

September 16, 2010

FRANKFORT, Ky. - A $2 million grant awarded to the Bluegrass State seeks to improve Kentuckians' health. And the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky will match that money dollar-for-dollar, making $4 million available to up to 10 low-income and rural communities.

The organization's executive director, Susan Zepeda, says over the next two years the grant will be shared among communities to provide innovative approaches to addressing Kentuckians' dire health needs in areas like nutrition, exercise, oral health and smoking cessation.

"This is an opportunity for some of Kentucky's hardest-hit communities to mobilize to do one big thing that'll make their community healthier."

The grant money comes from the Social Innovation Fund, a new $50 million federal initiative by President Obama that invests in results-oriented, non-profit organizations that will expand solutions in economic opportunities, healthy futures and youth development.

Zepeda says each organization will have to match the grant money, which she admits could be challenging. But, she adds, local organizations can fill the money gap by forging partnerships.

"We know that hospitals have a community benefit requirement, and we know that there are civic-minded banks that like to help their hometown grow."

The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky is taking proposals through mid-October from groups across the state committed to improving access to health services and reversing negative health trends through prevention and treatment.

Grant application information is available at

Renee Shaw, Public News Service - KY